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SparkleSteps - Epilogue
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:26 am    Post subject: SparkleSteps - Epilogue  

If you've not read the third and final part of chapter 17 yet, please click here first, so that you don't miss anything. ;) Either way, I hope you enjoy this final snippet of my tale. Thanks for reading! :)

SparkleSteps ~ Epilogue

Dusk was falling, and the forest was quiet, as the two figure made their way swiftly through the trees. Each carried a bundle, the smaller of the two, holding a large bag, which clinked softly as it's bearer moved along. The other's burden was long and fairly narrow, though rather large. He had it slung awkwardly over one shoulder, taking great care to not allow it to scrape or bang against any of the surrounding trees. They moved quickly, the smaller figure leading the way clearly sure of their destination, and the other followed without question, his precious bundle held firmly in his arms.

Out of nowhere, there suddenly loomed the mouth of a cave. Upon peering inside, they found only pitch-black darkness staring back at them, unyeilding and absolute.

"This is the place," Tianna murmured quietly, pushing back the hood of her long cloak. Placing her bundle on the ground, she seated herself cross-legged beside it, before gesturing for her companion to do likewise. "Now we have to wait."

"Are you sure this will work?" said Sorren, as he laid his burden gently on the ground, and taking his place next to Tianna on the ground, turning his dark eyes questioningly to her.

She paused a moment before nodding in acknowledgment.

"The elders know magics that have been lost to us for millenia," she said, laying a hand upon Sorren's arm. "If anyone can do it, they can."

They seemed to be waiting for hours, with the dusk turning quickly to night, and the sky becoming dotted with stars, that winked and shone at them prettily. They sat in silence mostly, save for the odd comment about the cold, or to wonder how much longer would they have to wait. Finally, Tianna took a harp from her waistband, a small, but exquisitely pretty object, and began to play. The sound of her music floated delicately in the air around them, and both felt more relaxed.

It took them a few moments to notice the three figures stood in the cave entrance, each mingled closely with the surrounding shadows and standing stock still listening. As Tianna finished her piece, she turned her head, and caught the glint of dark eyes in the moonlight. She drew in a gasp of shock, taking a moment to get over it, before rising to her feet, and bowing low, Sorren following suit.

"Great Elders," Tianna said, unable to prevent the gulp that threatened inside her throat. "We have come before you to ask for your help, for your great wisdom."

"We know why you're here..." The voice that answered her was distinctly female, but raspy and sharp, not far about a whisper. "And what might you have with you to return the favour, my I ask?"

Tianna stepped forward, placing the bundle she'd been carrying on the ground before the three shadowy figures, and unwrapped it. Inside was a riot of gold, silver and jewels, spilling out of their bonds and onto the forest floor. One of the figures stepped forward, exiting the mouth of the cave, and came to a standstill above Tianna and her precious gift.

"That will do as a start, do realise it isn't enough for what you're asking of us?"

Though she'd hoped it would be otherwise, Tianna knew, and nodded meekly. The dark figure looked to Sorren, who acknowledge that he did too.

"Very well..." the figure said, gesturing to the other two of her order to step forward. They did so, long black capes billowing lightly behind them as they moved, then she gestured for Sorren to unwrap his bundle. Sorren fell to his knees, and began to untie the bonds that held the wrappings in place. He gulped and took a deep breath, as he got back to his feet, and stood back away from the body.

The female in black tilted her head, and studied Chanah's body for a few moments.

"Pretty girl," she said simply, before ushering to her followers to get into position. The leader's eyes flickered towards Tianna, holding her in a relentless stare. "She mightn't be the do realise that?" Tianna nodded, and the other returned the gesture, before taking her position, matching that of her followers to form a circle, all looking down at the body at their heart. "The soul?" enquired the leader, and Tianna nodded.

Closing her eyes, she reached inside herself with her awareness, and took hold of Chanah's soul firmly, though there was a part of her that was going to miss it's presence inside her body, mingling alongside her own for the last few days. As she drew it out of herself, she felt it wrenched from her grasp by another. She opened her eyes, and watched as the leader manouvred the flame-coloured and lightly pulsating orb towards the small group, bringing it to a standstill above Chanah's lifeless figure. Then the three took each others hands, and began to chant.

At first it was just a humming, released from their lips in a strange and haunting tune. But then the leader began to use actual words, though her companions continued to hum melodiously. The words the leader used were ancient, and entirely unfamiliar to Tianna or Sorren. They were of a language millenia old and lost long ago. The dark figures lifted their faces to the sky, as they kept chanting. The orb of Chanah's soul began to glow brighter, the rays of it's light filling the clearing aorund them.

Suddenly while the other two kept humming relentlessly, the leader turned back to them.

"It is time..."

Tianna nodded, taking Sorren's arm and stepping forward. With a deep breath, each drew out a long, sharp blade, which glinted wickedly in the ethereal light. Tianna knelt down beside a Sacrifice rock, laying her hand carefully at it's centre, fingers splayed. After another heavy intake of breath, she brought the blade down with both speed and accuracy, and cried out loudly as she severed two of her fingers from their brothers. She couldn't help but allow tears to form and roll down her cheeks, the pain was so intense. But she still got to her feet and moved away, allowing Sorren to take her place. She walked towards the dark figures, hearing Sorren's own howl of pain as she did so. As she reached them, there was a sudden whoosh, as a ring of flames formed around the trio and the body at their heart.

"Cast them into the fire!" cried the leader, raising her arms to the sky and resuming her chanting in the ancient tongue. Tianna looked down at her detached fingers, then tossed them into the flames, seeing Sorren do likewise from the corner of her eye. The fire grew more intense, the flames licking higher and higher, reaching for the sky above. The heat pushed Tianna and Sorren back, until they could no longer see what was happening inside the circle.

As suddenly as the flames had started, they ended, gone like a puff of smoke on the wind. The three elders remained standing as they had been, looking down at the body before them. Chanah's soul had disappeared, but her body was still in the same place and position.

Tianna moved forward, gripping Sorren by the arm, and looked down at the elven woman lying on the ground. Her eyes remained closed, and all around them was quiet. At first Tianna thought it hadn't worked, but upon looking at the faces of the dark ones, she found they seemed to be waiting for something. So she held her tongue, and waited, and watched.

Then, without warning a beam of light erupted from Chanah's chest, extending skyward, before exploding. Thousands of tiny particles filled the air around them, shimmering and gleaming in the soft moonlight. Slowly they dissipated, leaving the clearing shrouded in darkness once more.

And Chanah's eyes opened.
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Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:15 pm    Post subject:  



SUCH a great ending to a fantastic tale!! my only complaint is that i would have liked to have seen more detail in what happened after the Veeka was defeated. How did they save Jem? How did they get back to the house? that sort of thing. GREAT job though!!!!
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:11 pm    Post subject:  

Thanks sooo much, Andi! I'm really glad you enjoyed it! :) To be honest, I think I could have done a bit more with that part of the chapter as well, and I promise that, at some point when I've got the time and the patience (and the muse, of course) I'll go over it and give a little more info. I guess really I was thinking that, if I made the chapter any longer, it was going to be too long, and I would have to split it, and do another chapter, as it really seemed to be just growing and growing and growing. And I thought that, if I did that, I wasn't going to have anymore exciting bits to put in, so that when I finally got around to doing another chapter, it would be disappointing to you guys. But I will, at some point, go over it and add a little more to that part, you have my word, especially since you've now confirmed what I was already thinking anyway. :)

Thanks again!
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Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject:  

A bit gruesome with the finger removal for my taste but a brilliant chapter and a good solid ending, Tika! Congratulations on your first finish of an SG! *applauds*

:clap: :cheers: :cool3:
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Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject:  

Finally caught up... from chapter 14. A belated congratulations for finishing Sparklesteps! As I read the chapters back to back as a linear story, I have to say how smoothly they did knit together for a storygame.

Over all the later chapters the tension increased at a good pace. At one point I was beginning to think that things were fitting into place just a little too easily, like the bar of the wooden cage accidentally breaking, and all the magic and the healing that was going on, but you balanced it out with enough twists and also the tragedy of Chanah's death to keep the tension. Not only was it a loss of a major character but it brought about a sense of hopelesesness that without her their quest to destroy the Veeka would be lost. And I can't really criticise all the magic that was going on - this is a pure fantasy story about a race of elves after all!

Your visual description was excellent, I got a strong sense of where things were in the forest and how the characters looked and sounded. The Veeka, Harlimains and the Grottbiler were gritty and revulsive, especially when contrasted with your descriptions of Tianna's beauty.

Milo was brave beyond his years and I'm glad you acknowledged that in your narrative, and that he goes back to being the innocent child he was when the story began. I especially liked Chanah, because she of all of the elves seemed to be the most human in character. She had opinions, a temper, her moods changed... the others seemed slightly bland in comparison, although they weren't without personality by any means.

One criticism about the chapters (I'll get to the epilogue in a minute) and I think I may have even mentioned this in a post earlier on in the story is that sometimes the characters sustained impossibly bad injuries and just kind of carried on as if it wasn't much more than a scratch. But other than that I found these final chapters were engaging and a pleasure to read.

The epilogue, in isolation, was a solid piece. It showed Tianna and Sorren severing their fingers as sacrifice to bring Chanah back. You were right that Chanah should be brought back at a cost, but as I finished reading it, I wondered whether Chanah should have been brought back at all. As I read through these chapters, as you had the characters' plans coming together and then being dashed to pieces, and then coming together via another twist, I felt you had a good balance between fortune and misfortune going on, making sure the reader knew that this wasn't going to be easy. That Chanah had died but her body could still be used through magic to defeat the Veeka was believable because she'd still be dead at the end of it.

And then you had that added suspense of Uncle Jem being near to death himself - so we had a definite one, and possibly two losses going on at one point. (BTW, excellent suspense in Ch17 part 3 when you keep us on tenterhooks even to the point when Winnie nods - we still couldn't be sure if Jem had survived until she speaks)

When I learned that Jem had survived it gave the story a bittersweet ending, and I liked that. We lost one major character, and another that we thought we'd lost had survived. It was the right one to survive because Jem is ultimately Milo and Winnie's guardian. Winnie's comment that she was feeling a little bit lonely is especially poignant because there's only the three of them left at the house and they've got to look after each other now that Rosie, Violet and Old Bob have been lost to the elven world.

On the other side of things, Sorren, Tianna and Mot have each other too, and I just felt that Chanah's revival, well written as it was, kind of upset the balance a little bit for me. But this is just an opinion, a reaction from one reader. I'm just pleased that after so long I've been able to sit down and catch up with this storygame which I enjoyed playing in its earlier chapters.

Bravo, and well done.

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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject:  

Wow Crunchy, that was an awesome comment! And thankyou ever so much for both taking the time to read the remaining chapters, but also to make such a detailed run down of your thoughts and opinions. It really does mean alot to know that the story was worthwhile enough for you to do so.

So, thanks again, and a huge welcome back! :)
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